Accommodation raises issues for all students with protected characteristics. It is an area requiring particular thought to avoid potential discrimination, by managing students’ wide-ranging needs. This includes the physical adjustments for some disabled students to provision for students with families, the specific needs of students undergoing gender reassignment and single gender halls/flats for certain religious groups.
The Equality Challenge Unit (www.ecu.ac.uk) has produced guidance on this area both on its own (Inclusive Campus: Accommodation and Social Space, Guidance) and in association with the Association for Student Residential Accommodation (Asra) and College and University Business Officers (CUBO) (Handbook for Student Accommodation Providers – Support and Guidance for Equality and Diversity).
A university ensures that there are sufficient rooms for female Muslim students on the upper floors of their residential accommodation blocks so that these students can walk around their rooms without their heads being covered. Where only ground-floor accommodation is available, the university provides window screening allowing light to enter but not people to see in.
(Adapted from a real-life example from ECU’s Inclusive Campus: Accommodation and Social Space, Guidance 2008.)
A university builds a new hall of residence with en suite rooms and wifi access, and allocates all of the rooms to male students. The other halls of residence to which female students are allocated have shared bathroom facilities and no wifi access. This would be unlawful sex discrimination.
Last updated: 15 Apr 2016